It is commonly observed that nature is extremely strange. The naked eyes sometimes nonplus the human beings. In North America, a flower Pholisma Sonorae is most bizarre wildflower normally known as sand food. Pholisma Sonorae normally growing out of sand dunes, with fleshy stems. The flower stretch two meters below the surface and emerging above a small rounded or ovate form.

Therefore, if adequate sand is blown away, the upper part of stem may get exposed and looks like a mushroom. However, in the spring season, round head bears small centimeter wide flowers which are purple to pink in colors with white margins. 

Pholisma sonorae is a rare and unusual species of flowering plant. It is endemic to the Sonoran Deserts to the west of Yuma, Arizona in the California Yuha and Colorado Desert, and south in the Yuma Desert. Here it is known from only a few locations. The flower lacks chlorophyll to survive and joins the roots of numerous desert shrubs to get nutrients.

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Although, the primary host plants do not suffer to be depleted by Pholisma infestation. Even in many cases, Pholisma plants weight is more than primary plant. So, naked eyes extremely puzzled when see this natural wonder of nature. Hence, it is extremely remarkable when the seedlings of these strange root parasites are even able to find the host root buried deep in the sand.

Pholisma sonorae is extremely rare wonder of nature and only found in few locations in the Algodones Dunes of southeastern California and nearby Arizona, and in the sand dunes of El Gran Desierto in Sonora, Mexico. The Native American tribes used to eat there fleshy stem, either raw or roasted over a campfire including the Cocopah and the Hia C-ed O’odham.

A close resemble species is Pholisma Arenarium. It has the same parasitic behavior does this by sending out pilot roots, about two feet below the sand surface. However, when they reach the vicinity of a host shrub. The pilot roots send out special “haustorial roots” generally connect and penetrate the host root.

Moreover, the haustorial connection absorbs carbohydrates and amino acids generated by the photosynthetic host shrub. So, the plant may be assisted by other factors. Such frequently shifting sand dunes that support the seeds to travel further down into the sand. Or even they may be carried by harvester ants and by rodents that burrow into the dunes under host shrubs.

With the passage of time urban development restrict the plant. And its declining there habitats of shifting dune sands and lost to development and damaged by off road vehicle use. 

Also Read: The Tree of Life

Source: Amusing Planet

Photo credit USFWS-Flickr In North America, a flower Pholisma Sonorae is most bizarre wildflower generally recognized as sand food a small rounded or ovate form.
Photo credit USFWS-Flickr
Photo credit plants.usda.gov
Photo credit plants.usda.gov
Photo credit botany.org
Photo credit botany.org
Photo credit plants.usda.gov
Photo credit plants.usda.gov
01 Photo credit plants.usda.gov
Photo credit plants.usda.gov
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Originally posted 2016-02-11 22:10:26.

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